Plein Air for the Park Hits Milestone

Plein Air for the Park Hits Milestone
Plein Air for the Park Hits Milestone
Plein air artist, Bill Sawczuk, paints Teewinot in the gathering clouds during the Quick Draw event on July 18. Bill is a local Jackson, Wyoming artist who often paints in the park. Photo by Jackie Skaggs, public affairs officer

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK — Proceeds from the nationally recognized Plein Air for the Park fine art exhibition and sale hit a milestone this year.Since its inception in 2012, the event has raised over $100,000 in proceeds that support multiple Grand Teton National Park programs through funding from the Grand Teton Association.

Jointly organized and co-hosted by the Grand Teton Association (GTA) and Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP), the 2015 exhibition attracted over 40 professional artists who spent two weeks in the park while they created open-air paintings of the inspiring Teton landscape and its native wildlife. A total of 85 paintings ultimately sold, with 40% of the sales going to fund educational, interpretive, and research programs sponsored by GTA in support Grand Teton.

“We’re excited to have raised $100,000 for the park through this fun and festive event, and we’re thrilled that Plein Air for the Park has grown for the fourth year in a row,” said Jan Lynch, GTA executive director.

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Plein Air for the Park, 2015 included several features such as: demonstration/educational sessions, a gala reception, and a quick draw event. The first formal session kicked off July 12 with a three-hour “Artists in the Environment” painting demonstration at Schwabacher’s Landing along the Snake River. A second group painting demonstration took place on July 14 on the Jackson Town Square. A gala reception on Wednesday evening, July 15, helped showcase the art work and allow time for art enthusiasts to chat with RMPAP artists while enjoying music and refreshments at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center. Superintendent Vela, GTA Director Lynch, and RMPAP President Stephen C. Datz welcomed a standing-room-only crowd to the artist’s reception. A quick draw around the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center served as the event finalé on Saturday morning, July 18. All pieces created during the two-hour quick draw were available for immediate purchase.

Greg McHuron, a longtime RMPAP member who passed away shortly after the 2012 Plein Air for the Park, was again honored with a memorial wall that featured three of his plein air paintings. The Greg McHuron Memorial Award was established in 2013 to recognize a piece of work that best represented McHuron’s ideals and most reflected the elements of plein air art that he felt were principally important.

The awards judge for the 2015 Plein Air for the Park exhibition and sale was Jim Wilcox, a well-known fine art painter who owns two galleries: Astoria Fine Art in downtown Jackson and Wilcox Gallery north of Jackson and near the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Awards presented for the 2015 Plein Air for the Park include:

  • Best Of Show — Stephen C. Datz for “Approaching Storm”
  • Best Body of Work — Mark Hanson
  • Award of Excellence — Eleinne Basa for “Aspen Interior”
  • Award of Excellence — Mitch Baird for “Pacific View”
  • Award of Excellence — Marc Hanson for “Golden Morning”
  • Greg McHuron Memorial Award — Lanny Grant for “Pilgrim Meadows”
  • Grand Teton NP Superintendent’s Award — Bill Davidson for “Phelps Lake Glow”
  • Grand Teton Association Directors’ Award — Jake Gaedtke for “Lily Pads at String Lake”
  • Honorable Mentions
    • Jeanne Mackenzie for “Path to the Tetons”
    • John Cook for “Brown Barn #3”
    • John Potter for “Grand Illusion”

The Grand Teton National Park Superintendent’s Award becomes part of the park’s permanent collection.

Grand Teton Association (GTA) operates bookstores at visitor centers in support of the missions of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and other partners such as the National Elk Refuge and surrounding national forests. The GTA provides critical funding through the sale of educational and interpretive materials, and supports interpretive, educational, and research programs at Grand Teton and across the Greater Yellowstone Area.Established in 1937 as cooperating association for Grand Teton, GTA has been an essential non-profit partner for the past 77 years. Visit online at

Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters (RMPAP) is a group of professional artists who shares a love of painting from life. The RMPAP organization encourages and promotes plein air painting within the Rocky Mountain region as a unique form of artistic expression. The RMPAP works to bring artists and art appreciators together in a creative atmosphere with an emphasis on the fellowship of professional artists. Members are encouraged to share ideas, enthusiasm, and knowledge with one another and others. The group’s membership has grown steadily through its 12 year history and now includes 50 professional artists from all over North America. Currently, membership is by invitation only. For more information, visit